Updated: Oct 22, 2014 7:55 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

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Team Fortress 2 Halloween Event

Team Fortress 2 website announces a new update is live in Team Fortress 2, saying: "In preparation for Scream Fortress 2014 we've enabled all previous Halloween events." A separate post adds more details:

Luckily, you can now play previous years' Halloween spectaculars to get your shock tolerance up in advance of the update. Simply boot up the game, hop into multiplayer and quickplay any of our past five Scream Fortress updates. If you've missed out on previous Team Fortress Halloweens, or are new to TF2 in general, this is a perfect time to catch up.

ArcheAge "Illicit Gains" Revoked

The ArcheAge Forums have an explanation from Trion Worlds for why some ArcheAge players have lost some gold, revealing they've been revoking what they are calling "illicit gains" in the MMORPG (thanks Massively). Here's what's happened:

A number of you have mentioned that you're seeing gold disappearing.

As we broadcasted in yesterday's initial blast of rapturing hackers, gold farming bots, mules, and storage accounts, we're now also taking the step of removing the gains passed on by them.

What that means is: If you bought or were gifted gold from one of them, you may see it disappear. We do have the ability to trace coin, and that's the gold that's being cleaned up right now.

The best bet is to not buy gold - It's the same people trying to crap up chat with spam and trying to fill the game with bots and landgrabs. If you bought gold from one of those sites, you are absolutely welcome to try to go back to them for a refund, but we will not be returning gold purchased or gifted from goldsellers and botters. It's off in the ether from whence it came.

New GeForce Drivers

The GeForce website now offers new version 344.48 WHQL-certified "game ready" drivers for NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards. These are the recommended drivers for Civilization: Beyond Earth and Lords Of The Fallen, and also add a "Dynamic Super Resolution" support for most of their accelerators. Here's word:

The new GeForce Game Ready 344.48 WHQL drivers are now available to download automatically through GeForce Experience, and from GeForce.com. These Game Ready drivers optimize your experience in forthcoming games like Civilization: Beyond Earth and Lords Of The Fallen, and enable NVIDIA Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) technology on Fermi and Kepler GeForce GTX 500, 600 and 700 Series desktop graphics cards. In addition, the new Game Ready drivers add nearly two-dozen profiles for SLI and 3D Vision systems, as well as other changes and updates.

New Kinect SDK & Adapter

The Official Microsoft Blog announces the release of Kinect SDK 2.0 and a new adapter kit (thanks Gamasutra). The adapter can connect an Xbox One Kinect to a Windows PC, and the new SDK allows the creation of commercial Kinect apps for the Windows Store with no fees or licenses. Here's the deal:

Kinect democratized motion sensing in 2010 and today that journey continues. We are introducing a $49.99 (USD) adapter kit that enables you to take the Kinect for Xbox One you already own and attach it to Windows PCs and tablets. With the adapter, all Kinect v2 sensors—Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One—perform identically.

Kinect SDK 2.0. Since last November when we gave our developer preview program participants access to an early version of the SDK, we have been listening. Over the past year, the team has engaged in dozens of hackathons, worked through countless issues reported by you, and we are only getting started. Thank you for the amazing feedback, dedication, and passion!

The Kinect SDK 2.0 is available today for you to download for free here. There are no fees for runtime licenses of commercial applications developed with the SDK. With over 200 improvements and updates to the SDK since we released the public preview in June, including enhancements to Visual Gesture Builder, Kinect Studio, and Kinect Fusion, we get you coding faster with a substantially more stable and feature-rich product.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

John Riccitiello New Unity CEO

Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is assuming the role of CEO of Unity as company co-founder David Helgason announces he is stepping down from the post to concentrate on strategy and connecting with developers, saying these are the things he loves the most about working at the engine developer. Helgason calls Riccitiello "the right person to help guide the company to the mission that we set out for ourselves over a decade ago: democratize game development." Here's word on where they go from here:

What does this mean for Unity? Not too much, since John completely agrees with our vision and our strategy. If anything it means that we’ll be more focused than ever about making sure everyone has access to the best technology and services. We want all of you to have the best tools and opportunities, and we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen across the board.

Fractured Space Announced

Edge Case Games announces development of Fractured Space, a tactical space combat game from the creators of Strike Suit Zero. This is planned as an early access release later this year, and the plan is to launch this as a free-to-play title early next year. The Fractured Space website is already online with concept art and further details, and here's word:

Edge Case Games, a new British games studio formed from the team behind Strike Suit Zero, has revealed its debut game: Fractured Space. A bold new vision in tactical space combat, Fractured Space puts players at the helm of gigantic capital ships in online, team-based space battles on a cosmic scale.

Edge Case Games has committed to an open development ethic in bringing Fractured Space to life for PC, working in step with its growing community by sharing early assets, prototypes and project plans while listening to players every step of the way. Founding community members are already contributing to the game’s development as they play and comment on early builds of Fractured Space in private playtests.

“Fractured Space is an ambitious project we have wanted to do for quite some time, and we're very excited to now confirm its development,” said James Brooksby, CEO of Edge Case Games. “Above all else we want to transmit a sense of scale to the player - the feeling of participating in a massive space battle inside their own titanic capital ship, blasting apart enemy ships and working together with other players to achieve a common objective.”

Fractured Space will launch on Steam Early Access later this year, before transitioning to a free-to-play model upon wider release in 2015. Founders on Early Access can look forward to a range of perks, including exclusive ships, crew, boosters and ranks. More information will be revealed in the coming weeks.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad Takes Off

1C Game Studios announces the launch of IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, saying the new installment in the combat flight simulator series is available via digital distribution as both a standard and a premium edition, with boxed retail editions to follow in various territories thanks to a new deal with Excalibur Publishing. This is being sold through the IL-2 Website and Steam. Here's a rundown on the game:

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is a combat flight simulation dedicated to the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the most decisive and fierce battles on the Eastern Front in WWII. This new project from 1С Game Studios represents the next generation of combat flight simulations with the latest development technologies – from a new higher level of physics modeling, damage modeling and aerodynamics to modern modes of gameplay with detailed, immersive environments.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Dreamfall Chapters Book One

Dreamfall Chapters Book One is now available, offering the first installment in a five-part episodic continuation of the Longest Journey series of action/adventure games. Details on the game can be found on its official website, though it hasn't yet been updated with release details. Dreamfall Chapters Book One can be found on GOG.com, the Humble Store, and Steam. Here's the word on the kickstarted game:

Red Thread Games today announced its highly anticipated adventure game Dreamfall Chapters has released the first book in the five-part series. Book One of the Kickstarter-funded, episodic story has already been distributed to project backers and is now available for purchase on GOG, the Humble Store, and Steam for PC and Mac as well as on Linux.

“When Kickstarting a game, you want to ensure you’re delivering everything and more for the fans that have backed it,” said Ragnar Tørnquist, founder and producer at Red Thread Games. “We wouldn’t be where we are now without our community and it’s because of them that we’ve been able to continue creating the game and story that we’ve dreamed of delivering all of these years.”

Dreamfall Chapters is a story-driven adventure game, the long-awaited episodic follow-up to the award-winning and bestselling adventure games, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Inspired by the events of the previous Dreamfall games, the plot follows three characters on their journeys across two worlds — one a cyberpunk vision of the future, the other a magical fantasy world — as their stories and destinies intertwine. Book One, entitled “Reborn,” will feature a prologue, chapters one and two and an interlude.

In game, players will explore fantastic locations and mature themes through the eyes of familiar faces, determining the course of their journeys through their choices and actions, and living with the surprising and sometimes devastating consequences. Every decision made within the game will have a significant impact on the way the story plays out. The game’s innovative social system gives players the option to see what decisions their friends made, before they make and share their own.

Return of the Obra Dinn Demos

This page offers Windows and OS X development builds as demos of Return of the Obra Dinn, a new project from Lucas Pope, developer of Papers, Please (thanks Videogamer). If the version number 0.0.X isn't a tip off, this carries a warning: "This is a very early playable build. There's not much content and it hasn't been tested. Progress is not saved. Quit and re-run to restart. Join the devlog or find me on twitter for comments and suggestions." Here's word:

In 1802, the merchant ship "Obra Dinn" set out from London for the Orient with over 200 tons of trade goods. Six months later it hadn't met its rendezvous point at the Cape of Good Hope and was declared lost at sea.

Early this morning of October 14th, 1808, the Obra Dinn drifted into port with sails damaged and no visible crew. As insurance adjustor for the East India Company's London Office, find means to board the ship and recover the Crew Muster Roll book for assessment.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

A response to my recent comment about Gunnar-man possibly not dressing up for Halloween noted that this may have to do with it being the first celebration of Hudson the wonder dog's favorite holiday since the passing of our beloved companion. Part of it was just inertia, but in thinking about this, it seems like the right thing to do is to go with tradition and have fun with it, so now Gunnar and I are consulting on what he's going to wear, though he's not being particularly helpful.

Dressy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Mainlands Wars.
V8 Muscle Cars 3.
Flash's Bounty.
Desert Bus (The Game). Online version.
Science: Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant.
Bees Wage Wars Against Other Hives That Last For Months. Thanks JDreyer.
Media: Aliens Isolation - PeepholeCircus.
Silence of The Lambs - 8 Bit Cinema.
Honest Trailers - X-Men- Days of Future Past.

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Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Free & Paid Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor DLC

WBIE offers new Power of Shadow DLC for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor as a free release for owners of the Tolkien-inspired action game. This is available on Steam along with a paid Test of Wisdom pack. Here's word from Steam News:

Power of Shadow: Strike terror into your enemies as Sauron's most fearful Servant, the Black Hand, and upgrade your Sword, Dagger and Bow to be weapons of renown with the Runes of Power bundle.

Test of Wisdom: Prove your strategic abilities in this Challenge Mode as you pit yourself against the most highly trained Legion of Sauron’s Forces. Earn points for skill, speed and efficiency and build your Legend on the Leaderboards.

Ships Ahoy - F1 2014

F1 2014 has taken the green flag, and Codemasters' new Formula One racing simulation is now available for Windows PCs through Steam. Here's the previously released launch trailer, and here's word on the game:

F1 2014 takes players closer to the experience of racing this year’s dramatically different cars. A new driver evaluation system and re-graded difficulty settings makes F1 2014 the most accessible video game in the series and players of all abilities will be able to feel how this new generation of FORMULA ONE cars handle.

F1 2014 includes all the seismic rule changes, aerodynamics, driver changes, new tracks and more which have combined to deliver an unforgettable FORMULA ONE season. F1 2014 also includes the return of Hockenheim to the calendar, and players can experience the BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX™ run as a night race for the first time and race new circuits in Russia and Austria.

Continue here to read the full story.

Jagged Alliance: Flashback Released

A Kickstarter update for Jagged Alliance: Flashback has news that Full Control's Jagged Alliance remake is now available, offering links to get the game through Steam and as a DRM-free release as well (thanks DocZ). They offer a release trailer to celebrate the news, and outline plans for post-release support:

A lot of people have asked us what happens on the other side of the release. The answer is "it depends". It depends on sales really. We have to feed our families and pay the bills like everyone else, and only if the game sells will we be able to do bigger expansions.

BUT - we have a track record of post-launch support, and we are dedicated to that for JAF as well. So coming up in some weeks from now will be a free upgrade with some of the content that didn’t get into the 1.0 release.

Read on!

Continue here to read the full story.

Warlock II: Wrath of the Nagas Expansion Released

A new Wrath of the Nagas expansion is now available for Warlock II: The Exiled, adding new content to the turn-based strategy sequel, and implementing support for OS X and Linux as well as Windows. There are details and links to purchase this on the Warlock 2 website, and you can see the what the add-on has to offer in this release trailer. Here's the deal:

Paradox Interactive today announced that “Wrath of the Nagas,” the new expansion for Warlock 2 that’s loaded with serpentertainment, is available worldwide for Windows PC and, for the first time, Mac and Linux. Wrath of the Nagas, which adds a new race of slithering sorcerers to the turn-based strategy wargame from Ino-Co Plus, is now available for $14.99 from digital retailers worldwide. Including a new game campaign, a new race to play as (or against), and new in-game units, mages, and lords, Wrath of the Nagas can be enjoyed today by all players of Warlock 2 without any sort of hisssssterics.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Screencheat

Surprise Attack Games announces the attack of Screencheat for Windows, OS X, and Linux, the multiplayer shooter which requires malfeasance, as the only way to find your invisible opponents will be by peeking at their screens. The game is available on Steam, and here's the pitch:

Cheaters never win? Cheaters never prosper? Tell this to Samurai Punk and Surprise Attack Games! They've just launched Screencheat, the first person shooter where everyone is invisible and the only way to murder your friends is to look at their screen to know where they're standing. Return to the glory days of lying to your friends that you totally didn't know they were camping and your grenade was "just a lucky guess." Consider this game your self-help guide for your cheating addiction and write it off as a medical expense at http://store.steampowered.com/app/301970/.

Magic 2015 Expansion Next Month; All Cards to be Earnable

The Magic the Gathering Website announces the Garruk's Revenge expansion for Magic 2015—Duels of the Planeswalkers will launch for Windows on November 5th. Word is: "Featuring some of your favorite cards from the Alara block, the expansion is sure to challenge longtime and new Magic fans alike. Playing through four new campaign nodes and one exploration node, you take on the role of Garruk, using his deck to battle your way through even more challenging foes, as Garruk's deck improves with each victory. Earn cards from Alara to later modify your own decks as you hunt your prey across the planes." They also announce that as of this expansion all cards will now be earnable within the game without requiring a purchase. Here are details on the change:

You spoke, we listened! With the release of this expansion, players who have unlocked access to the game's five initial chapters (Innistrad, Theros, Ravnica, Zendikar, and Shandalar) now have the opportunity to earn additional cards by winning multiplayer matches.

Previously, some cards could only be acquired by purchasing a Premium Booster. Going forward, however, these cards will instead be available in Battle Boosters, which can be earned by winning multiplayer matches. Players with access to multiplayer mode also have the option to immediately unlock the full Battle Booster Collection for $9.99. The Battle Booster Collection provides the maximum number of copies of each Battle Booster card (4 copies of each common, 3 of each uncommon, 2 of each rare, and 1 of each mythic rare). Players who previously purchased 1–13 of the Premium Boosters will only earn the remaining cards in the card pool. Players who previously purchased all 14 of the Premium Boosters will not earn any additional cards.

PAYDAY 2 John Wick DLC; Game Free with Movie Ticket

Starbreeze announces plans for some PAYDAY 2 DLC to support John Wick, the upcoming Keanu Reeves vehicle. The movie will debut in the U.S. on Friday, but the DLC will come tomorrow. They are also giving away a free copy of the game with the purchase of a movie ticket:

The exclusive content produced by OVERKILL Software – a Starbreeze Studio, based on the professional hit man from the movie, adds a playable John Wick character to the PAYDAY gang. The DLC will be released as a free update for the PAYDAY 2 game on the Steam platform two days ahead of the film’s worldwide theatrical launch to mark the PAYDAY 2 community reaching the final 1.5 million member Crimefest milestone. Beginning tomorrow, moviegoers purchasing tickets to John Wick on Fandango will receive a free download of PAYDAY 2 on Steam.

Civilization: Beyond Earth Linux & OS X Plans

Aspyr Media announces the status of the promised OS X and Linux editions of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, saying these should be released in time for the holidays. "The teams from Firaxis and 2K have done an astounding job of expanding on the core Civ experience in Beyond Earth," said Aspyr Media’s Vice President of Publishing, Elizabeth Howard. "So, it’s exciting for us to be able to bring the same experience to Mac and Linux users everywhere." Word is this will include a bonus for preorders: "Mac and Linux users may pre-order a Steam code for the title at Aspyr’s online store GameAgent.com. All GameAgent pre-orders will include the Exoplanets Map Pack as a free bonus."

Dragon Age: Inquisition Trailer

A new Inquisitor & Followers trailer from Dragon Age: Inquisition is now online, showing off the next installment in BioWare's RPG series. Here's the deal: "What kind of hero will you be? As leader of the Inquisition, your decisions not only shape your journey, but that of your followers as well. Join us for a closer look at the Inquisitor and a trio of the Inquisition’s followers. Each character has a reason for joining the Inquisition, and each bring their unique talents to the fight. Learn more about them in our latest video." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

  • Road to Gamers Assembly. Nadeo announces Trackmania & Shootmania tournaments at the Gamers Assembly of Poitiers in April 2015. Thanks Frans.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: A tale of momentum and inertia. Thanks ViperFour.

Alien: Isolation Corporate Lockdown DLC This Month

SEGA announces they will release the Corporate Lockdown pack for Alien: Isolation on October 28th, marking the first of five planned DLC releases for the survival/horror game. The pack will include a new playable character, three new survival mode maps, new objectives, and a new game mode. Here's the news:

In ‘Corporate Lockdown’, Seegson Executive Ransome has learnt that he has been abandoned by his paymasters. Knowing that the Torrens is on the way, he decides to make his escape and hitch a ride on board, taking decoded Nostromo data with him. However, while escaping he wants to tie up a few loose ends… Across three new challenge maps, ‘Severance’, ‘Scorched Earth’ and ‘Loose Ends’, players are challenged to compete against others through Alien: Isolation’s online leaderboards, to escape the station in the fastest possible time or attain the top score through numerous side quests and hidden bonus objectives. New to ‘Corporate Lockdown’ is the addition of Gauntlet Mode where players are challenged to top the Gauntlet Mode leaderboards by completing all three challenge maps back-to-back without dying.

‘Corporate Lockdown’ will be available to download via online marketplaces for available platforms from October 28, priced at MSRP $7.99/€6.99/£5.59 and will be followed by four more packs: ‘Trauma’, ‘Safe Haven’, ‘Lost Contact’ and ‘The Trigger’. Each will feature a new playable character alongside a mix of new maps, objectives and game modes to challenge even the most proficient player. Players wishing to explore every inch of Sevastopol Station can take advantage of the Alien: Isolation Season Pass, offering access to all five Survivor Mode add-on packs at up to a 25% discount. All add-on packs are scheduled to be released by March 2015.

Metallica to Close BlizzCon

Blizzard announces Metallica will perform the closing concert at this year's BlizzCon, presuming the heavy metal band doesn't fire their agent when they learn of the booking. The show gets underway on November 7th and the concert will follow on the 8th, but tickets all sold out pretty much immediately, so those interested in seeing this will have to opt for a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket (admit it, you thought we were going to say Napster). Here's word: "BlizzCon is a gaming convention like no other. With developer panels, exclusive interviews, intense eSports tournaments, the legendary Friday night contests, and what’s sure to be an unforgettable concert from Metallica to close out the show on Saturday, this year’s event is one you won’t want to miss."

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Dropping GFWL for Steam

BANDAI NAMCO announces that Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition will transition from the Games for Windows LIVE to Steamworks for backend support, and players will be able to transfer their saved games and achievements to Steam for a limited time beginning next month (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). It's long been speculated that Microsoft is looking to abandon GFWL, but there has been no such announcement amid similar defections. Here's word:

We are very excited to announce that next month it will be possible for players to migrate their Dark Souls: Prepare to Die games, saves and achievements from the Games for Windows Live platform to Steam.

  • Games for Windows Live users will be able to redeem their Games for Windows Live Tokens on Steam to get Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition at no additional cost. (To find your Games for Windows Live Token, please head to the support webpage.)
  • In the month of November, there will be a period by which Games for Windows Live Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition users will be able to transfer their Save Data (characters + progress) and Achievements over to their Steam accounts.
  • Players will still be able to use their Games for Windows Live Tokens to redeem the Steam version of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition at no additional cost even after the migration period ends; but game Save Data and Achievements transfer functions may not be available.
  • Games for Windows Live Rankings will not be transferred to Steam.

The specific migration start and end dates will be available soon; however the migration period will begin sometime in November 2014 with more specific dates to come.

We will be sharing more information soon regarding the migration process soon, so stay tuned!

Dying Light Four-Packs

Techland announces that Steam is now accepting pre-purchases of four-packs of Dying Light for players who want to be able to gift copies of the upcoming zombie game to friends. Single game pre-purchases are full retail, but the four-pack is quadruple the commitment at only triple the price. The game's release is expected on January 27th.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

It led to a couple of chilly days in the BlueTower, but I'm glad we had the furnace serviced before firing it up for the season. I imagined the repair job last year sort-of qualified as an annual servicing, but that was just to get it going again. This cleaning turned out to be extremely overdue, with the inside of this thing filthy with soot and dust, but it cleaned up okay, and we're told we should expect the furnace to soldier on for years in spite of the neglect. Apparently annual servicing is probably overkill for a gas unit like this, but the at least 14 years since this was done was clearly negligence.

Negligent Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Land of Enki 2.
Solar System Defence.
Why Am I Dead: Rebirth.
Story: Mets' Jacob deGrom voted top NL rookie.
Science: Physicists create reversible laser tractor beam.
Distant Galaxies Reveal 3D Cosmic Web for the First Time.
People think their opponents are hate-filled—unless you pay them money.
Media: Freeman's Mind: Episode 61.
Old man shows some major skills.
Very Well Trained Attack Dog.

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